As participants in the William Paterson University (WP) Holmes Network–part of the AACTE Holmes Program–we have enjoyed many new and stimulating opportunities. Throughout the past year, we’ve received mentorship and other valuable support as Holmes Honors students (undergraduates in teacher preparation programs) and Holmes Master’s students (in-service teachers in graduate programs), and last month we capped it all off with an inspiring trip to AACTE’s Washington Week.
In fall 2014, AACTE formed a networked improvement community (NIC) aimed at increasing the number of Black and Latino male teacher candidates in teacher preparation programs. Our College of Education at William Paterson University was among the 10 member colleges selected to participate. As we’ve worked in this collaborative group toward the goal of boosting enrollment of men of color by 25% across our programs, we’ve enjoyed a local impact that reaches well beyond the anticipated range.
The NIC employs the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s “improvement science” methodology to help participants examine our current practices and create new ones that will support the recruitment and retention of more diverse teacher candidates in our programs, and ultimately, their entrance into the teaching workforce.
Shanker Report Highlights Teacher Diversity Crisis Being Addressed by AACTE Networked Improvement Community
New data illuminate the growing problem of the lack of diversity in the teacher workforce and reframe teacher diversity as an “educational civil right” for students. The Albert Shanker Institute’s recent report on The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education names teacher diversity as a crisis in the educator workforce—the very topic being addressed by the 10 institutions participating in a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) sponsored by AACTE. Specifically, AACTE’s effort seeks to identify strategies to boost the number of Latino and Black men in the education profession.
The authors of the Shanker report studied research and data on teacher diversity from 1987 to 2012 in nine cities in the United States. The report shows that for the period of 1987-2012, the percentage of the students of color changed from 23% to 37% (a 14 percentage point increase). For the same period, the percentage of teachers of color rose from 12% to 17%—a mere 5 percentage point increase. This shows that the rate of increase of students of color is far (almost three times) greater than the increase in the percentage of teachers of color. Therefore, this is a crisis not only in the decline of numbers of young people seeking education careers, but the absence of young people of color choosing the profession at the same rates as the number of students of color enrolled in the nation’s schools.